Rav Soloveitchik Siddur Launch

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Last night OU Press and Koren launched the new Koren Mesorat HaRav Siddur with a ceremony at The Jewish Center featuring R. Jacob J. Schacter. Speakers introducing the siddur and the event included R. Julius Berman, R. Steven Weil and R. Yosie Levine.

The siddur, on which I worked extensively, features essays on and a commentary adapted from R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik’s teachings on prayer. The following is a short comment on the Amidah that I think is characteristic of R. Soloveitchik’s approach to prayer (pp. 136,139):

Shomei’a tefillah, Who listens to prayer. We have the assurance that God indeed hears our prayers, but not necessarily that He accedes to our specific requests. It is our persistent hope that our requests may be fulfilled, but it is not our primary motivation for prayer. In praying, we do not seek a response to a particular request as much as we desire a fellowship with God.

Below is my Twitter feed from the event. Please view this as notes, and judge favorably that nothing here is intended as an insult and any mistakes or over-simplifications are my fault. (My Twitter feed can be found here: link)

  • Tweeting the launch of Koren Mesorat HaRav Siddur at The Jewish Center
  • R Yosie Levine of Jewish Center opens with brief devar Torah. Now welcoming OU leadership who are here.
  • Now introducing R. Steven Weil.
  • R Steven Weil at Rav Soloveitchik Siddur launch
  • The room here is pretty packed but there are still some empty seats.
  • RSW: The Jewish Center is a model shul
  • RSW: This project evolved over 3-1/2 years. Thanks Julius & Dorothy Berman for sponsoring and inspiring this siddur and the haggadah.
  • RSW: Now thanking each sponsor of the project with a special description of each family. Very classy.
  • RSW: Thanks to R Genack whose loyalty to R Soloveitchik enables all of us to swim in R Soloveitchik’s teachings
  • RSW: Thanks to Dr Arnie Lustiger who has organized thousands of hours of R Soloveitchik’s lectures
  • RSW: Dr Lustiger is working on a chumash of R Soloveitchik
  • RSW: Thanks to me (shout-out to the blog) and R Simon Posner, as well as the other editors
  • RSW: Thanks to the Bermans on behalf of the thinking Jews and gentiles who will benefit from this siddur
  • R Julius Berman speaking at Rav Soloveitchik Siddur launch
  • RJB: Just told funny story with good deal of Yiddish, mainly self-deprecatory
  • RJB: Thanking the Jewish Center, where his nephew R Ari Berman was rabbi
  • RJB: 25 years ago, R Genack told him they need to publish the Rav’s Torah. RJB said he couldn’t get family permission but they tried
  • RJB: They pushed and pushed and got family permission to publish softcover (less official) issues. Issue 25 just came out.
  • RJB: Then R Genack said they have to publish hardcover books on masechtas and they did – Shiurei HaRav
  • RJB: Then R Genack said they have to adapt the Rav’s Torah to what we use in our daily lives – machzor, haggadah, kinos, siddur,…
  • RJB: But we needed “zeh Keili ve-anveihu” a beautiful product so they joined forces with the famous Koren publishers
  • RJB: Now he’s introducing R JJ Schacter to speak, R Dr former rabbi of Jewish Center and now university professor at YU
  • R JJ Schacter speaking at Rav Soloveitchik Siddur launch
  • Very few seats left
  • RJJS: I learned a great deal from the wonderful introductory essays in the siddur
  • RJJS: References handouts so people can follow as he takes us through some of Rav’s teachings on tefillah
  • RJJS: Bereishis Rabbah 3:7 – God created and destroyed worlds before ours. Those weren’t good but this one is.
  • RJJS: R Soloveitchik asked: why did God do this? A: to teach us that if we try and fail we have to try again.
  • RJJS: God modeled for us success in the wake of failure.
  • RJJS: Gemara – when a tzadik dies it’s like destruction of a world. But new teachers will come, new worlds will be built
  • RJJS: But only if the new leaders are a link in the chain, passing on the teachings of the past
  • RJJS: R Soloveitchik’s teachings continue to be relevant 2 decades after his passing
  • RJJS: Our success depends on our connection to his teachings
  • RJJS: His father was the first to get semicha from the Rav
  • RJJS: The Rav gave semicha to over 2500 men. (Why do people keep saying that like it’s a good statistic?)
  • RJJS: Father in the name of Rav: you wake up in the morning, go to shul and say to God: “Give me” How dare we bother God with our trivialities
  • RJJS: the Rav introduced the concept of “matir”. We need to be granted permission to pray.
  • RJJS: Berachos 26b – tefillah was established based on Avos or Korbanos
  • RJJS: R Soloveitchik said the Avos or Korbanos were matirim for daily prayer
  • RJJS: Quotes his own book The Lord is Righteous in All His Ways pp. 88-89. Eicha is the matir to say Kinos
  • I’m sitting next to Dr Arnie Lustiger, safe near the back of the room. He can rattle off what of the Rav’s Torah is published where.
  • RJJS: Is it a machlokes whether tefillah is based on Avos or Korbanos? Rambam follows both (tefillah 1:5; melachim 9:1)
  • RJJS keeps throwing in Yiddish phrases. Not often I hear that from someone cleanshaven.
  • RJJS: He feels special closeness to what the Rav published himself, like Raayonos Al HaTefillah.
  • RJJS: Raayonos Al HaTefillah pp. 245-246 – Both Avos and Korbanos are historical precedents, matirim, for tefillah.
  • RJJS: What’s your favorite Rav passage? It might be sacrilegious but he has one in the hesped for Talne Rebbetzin.
  • RJJS: How did the Rav know about Jewish mothers? He had one.
  • RJJS: Most important: “Most of all I learned that Judaism expresses itself not only in formal compliance… But also in a living experience”
  • RJJS: Rav: “I learned from [his mother] the most important thing in life – to feel the presence of the Almighty”
  • RJJS: The only way to not feel alone is to feel God’s presence. The Rav learned that from his mother.
  • RJJS: The Rav would constantly say “I heard from my father in the name of my grandfather” – 14 times on one Sunday morning.
  • RJJS: But if not for his mother he would have grown up “a soulless being, dry and insensitive”
  • RJJS: Is this gender specification binding? Can fathers teach children experience?
  • RJJS: The Rav taught typologically. He didn’t mean it as binding.
  • RJJS: The Rav: 2 aspects to religious gestures – strict objective discipline and exalted subjective romance.
  • Family Redeemed pp. 39-41
  • RJJS: Tefillah has two parts – the act and the affect. 20 places in Rav’s publications where this is discussed
  • RJJS: Berachos 30b – if you can’t concentrate you shouldn’t pray
  • RJJS: Berachos 34b – if you can’t concentrate on all blessings of Amidah, concentrate on the first. Tosafos points out the contradiction
  • RJJS: Rambam (tefillah 4:1) – concentration is required for tefillah.
  • RJjS: Rambam (tefillah 10:1) – you only have to concentrate in the first blessing (in the worst case)
  • RJJS: Reb Chaim explains that there are two kinds of concentration – understanding the words, knowing you are standing before God
  • RJJS: Chazon Ish takes issue with Reb Chaim but for the Rav this was an important idea
  • RJJS: R Soloveitchik is not with us but new worlds need to be created. In order to inspire people we need to appreciate the Rav’s teachings

About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of TorahMusings.com, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student serves on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America and as Director of the Halacha Commission of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. He also serves on the Editorial Boards of Jewish Action magazine, the Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society and the Achieve Journal of Behavioral Health, Religion & Community, as well as the Board of OU Press. He has published five English books, the most recent titled Search Engine volume 2: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts -- Jewish Leadership, and served as the American editor for Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honour of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

105 comments

  1. “RSW: The Jewish Center is a model shul”

    Meaning? Just curious…

  2. “IH on November 15, 2011 at 9:37 pm
    “RSW: The Jewish Center is a model shul”

    Meaning? ”

    Nothing-he is thanking his hosts for giving their facilities for the launch-just slightly exaggerated of the style

  3. Is there a recording of the launch. I am using the siddur , it is fantastic.

  4. “thinking Jews and gentiles who will benefit from this siddur”

    Gentiles? Really?

  5. Gentiles? Really?

    The market’s a lot bigger.

  6. How do the publishers see use of the Mesoret HaRav siddur relative to the Sacks siddur? Surely one is not meant to replace the other. Is the former more of a reference tool and the latter more of a daily companion?

  7. While Gil’s tweeting effort is commendable, it doesn’t really give to a true sense of R. Schacter’s presentation. (I was there as Gil can attest.) In a word, it was superb. I strongly urge anyone interested enough to read the tweets to hear the audio of R. Schacter (you can skip the others). It’s long but very very worthwhile.

  8. However, listening to the audio will not, unfortunately, get you a copy for $20 which those at the launch were able to do. Eat your hearts out. 🙂

  9. Regarding “WARNING: The over-indulgent flattery might make your ears bleed.” At least this time around some of it was meant for baal habatim and not even rich baal habatim, though mostly they were rich.

  10. I’m going through the siddur now (I was disappointed they didn’t ask me for an introductory essay, am I the only one they left out :-)). So far, great job but I think it would be easier for many if there were an asterisk in the text to point out where there is commentary (as done in the machzorim)
    KT

  11. Lawrence Kaplan

    I can’t believe that I am in NYC and did not know about the Siddur launch!

  12. Lawrence, Someone at the launch told me he was surprised you weren’t there.

  13. I would be very interested in knowing how the audience reacts to the commentary in the Siddur versus the machzorim, either positively or negatively, in all respects. Such information will be valuable input for the Chumash I am working on.

  14. Lawrence Kaplan

    By the way, speaking of the Rav, I will be giving the Tikvah public lecture this coming Monday at 6:00pm at the NYU Law School on “Can the Halakhah Suspend One’s Emotions?: Rabbi Soloveitchik, Maimonides, and Rashi on the Laws of Mourning.” Light refreshments will be served afterwards.

  15. wait- why didn’t Joseph tell Lawrence about the book launch?

  16. So far, Joel has commented on the lack of asterisks and Daniel has commented on the lower quantity of comments (in the talkbacks on Gil’s earlier post on the Siddur). Anyone else?

  17. Lawrence Kaplan

    Dr. Lustiger: Give me some time, and I will get back to you. First, I have to get a copy of the Siddur.

  18. R’LK-will your presentation be recorded?
    R’AL-firstly, thanks so much for all your efforts in this area. I assumed there was a lower quantity of comments due to the size of the siddur. My 2 cents would’ve been to leave out the essays and the material at the back and include more commentary. I also think there are some clear overarching issues (e.g. matir, close vs. far) which could be pulled out-not in a long essay but almost a summary table.
    As I mentioned, I am going through it. The reason is I’m giving a series (10 minutes, after shabbat davening) based on it where I hope to give folks (and may do a cheat sheet as I did on the machzorim) some key points to think about as they actually say the words. My guess/hope is short and punchy may actually get people to think about it more than just once.
    KT

  19. Prof. Kaplan –

    The RSVP link for your lecture seems to be broken. I keep being prompted to rsvp for a Law and Morality in the Jewish Tradition lecture.

  20. “RJB: Just told funny story with good deal of Yiddish, mainly self-deprecatory”

    “RJJS keeps throwing in Yiddish phrases. Not often I hear that from someone cleanshaven”

    It is great to see that Yiddish is still being used, at least minimally, in the MO world. While significant portions of the older MO generation still retains connections to Yiddish and the Yiddish speaking world, the great ignorance of Yiddish among the younger generations there (and elsewhere) is quite unfortunate, as it moves the younger generation further away from those who preceded them, and from our European past, and the mesorah. Halevai that there should be more usage of Yiddish along such lines, and maybe some of the youth will get interested in it and gain some knowledge of that tongue.

    I am listening to the recording now and enjoying it. Thanks to the earlier commenter for posting the link.

  21. Lawrence Kaplan

    Joel Rich: I believe my presentation will be recorded.

    Jacob: Sorry about the link. But you can come without rsvping.

  22. Lawrence Kaplan

    “kaplans”(?): I assume that Joseph quite reasonably assumed I knew about.

  23. the great ignorance of Yiddish among the younger generations there (and elsewhere) is quite unfortunate, as it moves the younger generation further away from those who preceded them, and from our European past, and the mesorah.

    Which is why, alongside Yiddish, I make sure to learn Old French, Latin and Greek in equal amounts, because I cannot bear to be separated from any now-extinct stage in the mesorah.

    Not Ladino though, because that’s not part of the mesorah.

  24. Shlomo: How correct you are. Let’s just stick to English. Learn gemara in English only too. After all why waste time and confuse the kids with Aramaic? And pray in English too. Kids today have so much to learn, why make them learn any language beyond English. Doing so might take away from the time they need for essentials such as Facebook.

    If you can’t learn and achieve total fluency in each of Old French, Latin, Greek, Aramaic, Yiddish, etc., one should not even attempt any of them. It is a sin to have some proficiency in the language of your parents, grandparents, cousins. An affront for someone to suggest that MO should have some knowledge of the mother tongue of their gadol, RYBS.

  25. Does YU offer any language courses to study Yiddish as a language? Or does one have to enroll in such a course at YIVO (http://www.yivoinstitute.org/index.php?tid=54&aid=891)?

    Incidentally, for those not familar, Aaron Lansky’s 2004 “Outwitting History” is worth reading.

  26. IH: “Does YU offer any language courses to study Yiddish as a language?”

    Does Chaim Berlin or BMG?

    Litvak: “It is a sin to have some proficiency in the language of your parents, grandparents, cousins.”

    So now you advocate the use of German, Hungarian or Russian? Oh, lets not forget the language of Moreh and Chovos, inshallah.

  27. Shimon S – thanks, so it looks like there is a course (taught by the same instructor as the Elementary Yiddish class at YIVO.

    Itay Zutra
    Adjunct Instructor of Yiddish
    Born in Israel, Itay Zutra received a BA from Hebrew University and an MA from Tel Aviv University. He is currently completing a doctorate at the Jewish Theological Seminary. His dissertation is entitled “Inzikh (1920- 1940): Yiddish Modernism in Search of Jewish Self-Consciousness.” His areas of interest include Yiddish literature, Eastern European Jewish history, culture and literature, poetry, modernism and modern Hebrew literature.

  28. I am puzzled about several matters raised in R’ Gil’s notes on the launching of the siddur. First of all, isn’t it audacious to describe the earlier worlds (Rav Avahu in Gen. Rabbah) as “failures”? Although Rav Avahu uses the expression, “those didn’t please Me”, that could just be a waying of saying that they had finished serving their purpose. I don’t see that a mussar lesson about perserverence overrides a diminished view of the Creator (i.e. subject to failed experiments).

    Second, why does tefila need a ‘matir’? Tefila, in the form of crying out to GOD, both addresses a human need, and is explicitly alluded to in the torah. Daily tefila is taken by the sages to be derived from the torah verse, “ule’avdi bechol levavchem”. The issue of avot vs. korbanot addresses primarily the question of the basis for the several times for tefila that the sages require, it seems to me.

  29. Re Yiddish. The only value I can think of, apart for nostalgia, is the ability to connect with old Jews, who are rapidly disappearing. Yet many of them still live, and many people I know picked up Yiddish sufficiently enough to converse with and get to know precious Jews. You could make a similar case about Chassidim, but of course they should learn the vernacular, for a similar reason, so they can connect with and get to know precious Jews.

    Fuzzy mesorah stuff, is really just nostalgia. The rest is a real issue, but even that issue is going to disappear before we know it. In the meantime, the time to get to know old Jews is now, and therefore Yiddish has value.

  30. For religious Jews, Yiddish was a spoken and generally not written language (tkhinnes, an important aside). But, the rise of Yiddish literature amongst the non-religious is an important part of our late-19th and early-to-mid 20th century history and the key to dispelling the myths spawned about the purity of pre-Shoah Eastern Europe.

    As an interesting aside, Sholom Aleichem’s six children never learned to write or to speak Yiddish (http://movies.nytimes.com/2011/07/08/movies/sholem-aleichem-laughing-in-the-darkness-review.html).

    Other than a few enclaves of chassidim, it is secular Jews who have kept Yiddish in any institutional sense.

  31. YA: Your thoughtful questions demonstrate why tweeting will never take the place of discussing somehting in depth. I highly recommend listening to the lecture.

  32. Joseph — I don’t tweet/twitter, but isn’t that what people said (and say) about blogs?

  33. Kudos to R Arnie Lustiger,R Gil, and all who worked on this Siddur. I think that the main purpose of the publication of this Siddur is for a Dor Asher Lo Yada Es Yosef and to emphasize that Tefilah is a three times per day for dialogue Lifnei HaShem, as opposed to a shopping list in which we demand answers.

  34. Lawrence Kaplan

    A key question in my view is which Koren Siddur will Modern Orthodox shuls buy? The Rabbi Sachs Siddur or the Rav Siddur?

  35. Litvak: I learn gemara in the original language, which is Aramaic of course. I would try to learn Yiddish seforim in Yiddish, but it just happens that there aren’t any Yiddish seforim worth learning.

    I’ll learn Yiddish to understand RYBS’s lectures at about the same time I learn Judeo-Arabic to understand Moreh Nevuchim.

  36. Larry Kaplan-Perhaps, one other issue to be considered is the ease of the Siddur for the Mispalel or a sefer to be learned for its content.

  37. “His father was the first to get semicha from the Rav”

    I have no reason to doubt the technical accuracy of the statement-R Her Schachter to distinguish from the current RY received smicha from YU a few months after the Rav came to YU to be RY. I have never heard- not that it is a proof -that he was in the Ravs shiur in YU. Does RJJS mean by that that his father received smicha from the Rav as being one of the signatures on the YU smicha or does RJJS mean that his father received a handwritten smicha from the Rav on his personal stationary in addition to his
    smicha from YU.
    Rabbi Herschel Schachter had a very prominent career he was a chairman of the Conference of Major Jewish Organizations, famous for being the chaplain at the liberation of Buchenwald. Of course, of interest is that he spent his career and did not leave the Mosholu Jewish Center-even way after the neighborhood changed. He felt a responsibility to his congregants.

  38. Prof. Kapaln,
    The Sachs siddur has a 1-2 year lead on purchases. I suspect that many shuls that were going to buy a Koren have done so already, and will then replace them with the ones they already have and they congregants are familiar with. I think the Rav siddur is at a huge disadvantage here.

  39. “Does RJJS mean by that that his father received smicha from the Rav as being one of the signatures on the YU smicha or does RJJS mean that his father received a handwritten smicha from the Rav on his personal stationary in addition to his
    smicha from YU.”

    From the way RDJJS told the story, it appears the former. The reason he was first was because of the death of Rabbis Revel and M. Soloveitchik, RIETS was a bit chaotic and smicha exams had not been given . RHS already had a position in CT and was in a hurry so he got himself to the front of the line and my sense was that the Rav participated in the oral bechina. The story was told in a light vein; it wasn’t braggadocio by any means although the son’s love of and respect for the father was very clear.

  40. Dr. Lustiger,
    I would like to see page numbers in whichever book is being quoted, seeing the whole source can help the reader. Also, i didn’t read the intro, but sometimes there were quotes w/o any source given. I know in the other post the point was made that there was a contradiction between the siddur and what the Rav had said in two other places, to know whether the siddur is just based on someone’s notes or a tape can then be vital

  41. Arnie Lustiger

    Source,

    A decision was made that only primary sources written by or attributed to the Rav himself (i.e. Toras Horav books) would be cited in the Siddur. Secondary sources would not be cited. Therefore, many of the comments in the Siddur have no citation. There was no such restriction for the machzor.

  42. LITVAK:

    “It is a sin to have some proficiency in the language of your parents, grandparents, cousins.”

    english is the language of my parents, grandparents, cousins

    “An affront for someone to suggest that MO should have some knowledge of the mother tongue of their gadol, RYBS.”

    do his grandkids speak yiddish?

    i have no issue with kids learning yiddish for cultural and nostalgic reasons, but let them first learn some real hebrew for religious and national reasons.

  43. Dr. Lustiger,
    I didn’t understand. Why is there no citation just because it is a verified source? Shouldn’t it still say the source?
    Also, are your books and Moshe Krone’s books (excellent books) also used as references, or only the Toras Harav books?

  44. The answer to my question in the first comment can be found at minutes 03:20 through 05:30 on the YUTorah audio. Particularly interesting in light of the NCYI brouhaha are 04:33 to 04:55 which higlights the JC’s woman President.

  45. Arnie Lustiger

    Source,

    My books as well as Moshe Krone’s are considered secondary sources and therefore are not cited, although these and many others were used liberally for the commentary. The back of the Siddur contains a complete bibliography of all the sources used.

    If you would like to know the source and page number for any specific uncited comment, I might be able to provide it for you.

  46. Why not publish supplementary information (such as citations to secondary sources) on the OU Press website, assuming the material is straightforward to collate.

  47. There’s great material in the siddur. However, I would like to have seen more commentary. There are places without commentary in the siddur (Hataras Nedarim, Gomel) upon which the Rav wrote elsewhere (No’oras HaRav 2, Halachic Positions 2 respectively).

    I also would like to have seen detailed references, eg. page # and I would have liked secondary sources cited with page numbers as well.

    For me, the more info the better.

  48. Can anyone attend the nyu law lecture? Need a pass to get in?

  49. Arnie Lustiger

    IH: It will take a lot of work to collate this information – there are 305 comments in the Siddur, about half of which are unattributed. However, if the specific comment also appears in the machzor (e.g. on pesukei dezimra or birchos krias shma) you will find the source there. Again, if you would the sources for a few unattributed comments, let me know and I likely will be able to find them.

  50. Arnie Lustiger

    Daniel: Please write me off-line with your email address. Mine is [email protected].

  51. Arnie Lustiger

    Daniel: Hataras Nedarim commentary appears in the Rosh Hashanah machzor pp. 2-7. I don’t remember any comment on gomel.

  52. I also prefer the page numbers but frankly I’ve never seen it in other similar works. That genre expects readers to trust the editor.

    Daniel, there are future books in progress that will contain additional commentary. Hataras Nedarim is hardly central to a siddur.

  53. Dr. Lustiger:
    I am not as familiar with the Rav’s Torah as you or R’ Gil are, but are the Toras Harav seforim transcriptions of the Rav or summaries?

  54. The limitations of publishing are well understood, but publisher have been using the Internet for some time to augment what can be made available in bound hardcopy.

    I don’t understand why this has not been part of the OU Press methodology. And, if it is too difficult to collate material for projects thus far; perhaps it can begin with any projects currently in process.

  55. Toras Harav:

    Some of the Toras Horav books are based on unpublished written manuscripts, others are based on oral lectures, and one is a direct translation of a book that the Rav himself wrote.

  56. IH: We had originally planned to offer precisely such supplementary material on the OU website, but because there may be plans for a Shabbos and Yom Tov siddur which would include such material, the decision was made not to have it on the website. Please write me at [email protected]

  57. Dr. Lustiger:

    Is this Chumash also going to be Koren? Because I see R’ Sacks already has one planned… 🙂

    To be honest, R’ Schacter’s frequent use of Yiddish is one thing I hold against him. Not only do I not understand most of what he’s saying (and if I, with two Yiddish-speaking parents, don’t, kal v’chomer most understand even less), but it gives his talks an air of “I’m talking to insiders here” quality that I find a bit annoying. Just my two cents.

    (It’s not like he has to do it- I’ve heard him speak to more secular audiences and do well without it.)

  58. “a model shul ”

    Why is the JC a model shul?

  59. “Lawrence Kaplan on November 16, 2011 at 11:05 am
    By the way, speaking of the Rav, I will be giving the Tikvah public lecture this coming Monday at 6:00pm at the NYU Law School on “Can the Halakhah Suspend One’s Emotions?: Rabbi Soloveitchik, Maimonides, and Rashi on the Laws of Mourning.””

    I am certainly no expert on the Rav-but it is my impression that the Rav was in general opposed to visiting graves and did not visit his fathers grave but he did frequently visit his wifes grave. If my 400AM recollection is correct does that not imply that emotions will change halacha? or emotions will change ones approach to halacha?

  60. r’mycroft,
    iirc he went every week in spite of the family minhag.
    r’gil,
    any plans for the softcover individual noraot etc. to come out in book form?
    KT

  61. “RJJS: But if not for his mother he would have grown up “a soulless being, dry and insensitive””

    What does that say about the Briskers? Of course, one can read Shulamith Meiselman’s book for non flattering words about R Chaim Brisker.

  62. “I am certainly no expert on the Rav-but it is my impression that the Rav was in general opposed to visiting graves and did not visit his fathers grave but he did frequently visit his wifes grave. If my 400AM recollection is correct does that not imply that emotions will change halacha? or emotions will change ones approach to halacha?

    joel rich on November 17, 2011 at 5:32 am
    r’mycroft,
    iirc he went every week in spite of the family minhag”
    “Minhag” for the Rav was clearly important for what he personally did. The reasons for not going at least border on hashkafa/halacha-that the Rav changed his behavior for his wifes grave. Is that not clear that emotions could rule the Ravs behavior not always halachik logic.

  63. Lawrence Kaplan

    Daniel: A pass is not needed to attend the lecture.

    mycroft: Your point is interesting. If you are curious about what I am going to say, you are welcome to come.

  64. “Why is the JC a model shul?”

    Minutes 03:20 through 05:30 on the YUTorah audio. Particularly interesting in light of the NCYI brouhaha are 04:33 to 04:55 which higlights the JC’s woman President.

    http://www.yutorah.org/lectures/lecture.cfm/765672/Rabbi_Dr._Jacob_J_Schacter/Book_Launch:_The_Koren_Mesorat_HaRav_Siddur

  65. “mycroft: Your point is interesting. If you are curious about what I am going to say, you are welcome to come.”

    But if you do, Mycroft, you’ll have to introduce yourself to the speaker afterwards. 🙂

  66. [repost – and others also asked similar question/s] How do the publishers see use of the Mesoret HaRav siddur relative to the Sacks siddur? Surely one is not meant to replace / compete with the other. Is the former more of a reference tool and the latter more of a daily companion? Thank you.

  67. Lawrence Kaplan

    Joseph: Now you’ve almost certainly guaranteed he won’t come!

  68. I think too much is made of R. Schacter’s use of Yiddush. It’s really minimal and very basic (gornish and the like). My knowledge of Yiddish is minimal but I have no problem understanding what he says. And one of my daughters was with me at this lecture and she knows no Yiddish at all and yet had no difficulty in following the entirety of the lecture. That’s his style; he often speaks that way privately as well throwing Yiddish in. If you don’t like that style or find it irritating that’s your right, of course, but seeing the packed audiences that he gets when he speaks, it doesn’t seem to bother very many people.

  69. I wasn’t there, but listened to the audio. He used considerably more Yiddish than I remember him using in sermons when he was Rabbi of the JC. So it certainly wasn’t to impress the JC members there.

  70. Joseph: Maybe there are people who enjoy that. I’ve certainly heard him tell whole jokes in Yiddish in Kollel Yom Rishon and the like. (This is a KYR where R’ Golwicht can’t speak his easy to understand Hebrew for fear- justified, probably- that many won’t understand him.)

    Look, he didn’t grow up speaking Yiddish, I’m almost sure. He went to Harvard. Maybe he picked it up in Yeshiva, but there’s no need or reason he would do it except, maybe, for the reasons mentioned above. It comes across as forced and a tad condescending.

  71. Dr. Lustiger,

    Why is Moshe Krone’s work considered more second hand than the Toras Harav’s work? He also worked off of tapes and manuscripts?

    I am sure this is not your responsibility, but if you are asking for corrections for the next book. I think a lot of people were surprised that, considering the price of the siddur, there was not that much inside there (if it were a 15 or 20 dollar siddur maybe less could be expected). I believe most people were buying the siddur b/c it has the Rav’s name on it, not b/c Koren, so many were greatly disappointed. Also, people were not buying the siddur b/c of the essays at the front (or halachos in back) of the book. I think everyone would have preferred more of the Rav inside rather than any of the introductory essays.

    If the Rav’s chumash will just be a collection of the toras harav foundation books please tell me now, because I have no interest in purchasing such a chumash.

  72. “RJJS keeps throwing in Yiddish phrases. Not often I hear that from someone cleanshaven.”
    Is that rare for a Torah Vaddas musmach?

  73. “which higlights the JC’s woman President”
    I find most intriguing about a JC woman President that she was a macher of the Heschel school. THe Heschel school has a female Rabbi as the head of one of its divisions.

  74. Lawrence Kaplan

    I believe Moshe Krone worked primarily off tapes, whereas Toras Horav works off manuscripts and typescripts, supplemented by tapes.

    I find the books edited by Krone a bit annoying, because the sources are not identified, unlike Toras Horav where all sources are identied.

  75. You don’t need a pass for the lecture, but they do appreciate if you RSVP, as seating is limited.

    http://its.law.nyu.edu/eventcalendar/index.cfm?fuseaction=main.detail&id=18221

  76. Is the Rav Siddur available in Israel?

  77. I find most intriguing about a JC woman President that she was a macher of the Heschel school. THe Heschel school has a female Rabbi as the head of one of its divisions.

    Perhaps the OU is embracing Open Orthodoxy 🙂

  78. Arnie Lustiger

    Source: You have given me a lot to respond to. Your criticisms resonate strongly. I have alot to say. I would love to do it with you, but it must be offline. Yoser mimah “shekasavti” kasuv kahn. Please write me at [email protected]

  79. While I’m not in favor of teaching limudei kodesh in Yiddish to kids with a different native language, this was the common practice in American yeshivot some 50 years ago when R.D. JJ Schacter was, presumably, a young student in Torah Vodaath. Yiddish may also have been commonly spoken in his home. It’s not surprising, then, that he would revert to Yiddish expressions with a seemingly appropriate audience. This can be considered ‘girsa d’yankusa’. I wouldn’t characterize such behavior as elitist since he may have misjudged the abilities of many of his audience to understand his references.

  80. First of all, a big yashar ko’ach to Gil and everyone else who worked on the siddur. I haven’t gotten a copy yet, but I look forward to reading it.

    I just wanted to second what Joseph Kaplan reported about RJBS giving the semikha exam to RJJS’ father, R. Herschel Schacter. I haven’t heard the recording of the speech yet, but I can share this “never before seen” excerpt from the transcript of my interview with RJJS:

    “Because of the confusion and because of the time that elapsed between the passing of Rabbi Moshe Soloveitchik and Dr. Revel and the arrival of our Rabbi Soloveitchik, my father then, who was waiting to get rabbinic ordination from Yeshiva, got a job as a rabbi in Stamford, Connecticut. And it was only after he became the rabbi in Stamford, Connecticut that he returned to the Yeshiva to take his rabbinic exam under Rabbi Soloveitchik. …

    “My father came into the room. There were three rabbis sitting there, at the center was Rabbi Soloveitchik. And he was absolutely petrified. And Rabbi Soloveitchik asked him a question in Jewish law, as befits a question for a rabbinic organization, uh Rabbi Soloveitchik asked him a question in Jewish law as befits a question for a rabbinic examination, and my father hesitated, and Rabbi Soloveitchik looked at him and said, “Stamforder Rav! What do you have to say?” Giving the impression, “You’re a rabbi already! You should know! You have a job! You took your job before you got rabbinic ordination. What’s the answer?”

    “And so it went, and so it went for about three or four hours. And thank God my father got rabbinic ordination, as did many, many others. But it wasn’t easy. Rabbi Soloveitchik was a strict taskmaster. As a teacher, as a lecturer, and as someone who gave examinations for the rabbinate.”

  81. Dr. Lustiger: This was I believe my third RH (and fourth YK?) using your machzorim. I realize that part of this may have to do with the structure of the tefillah during the Yamim Nora’im, but I felt that a number of comments were repeated throughout the machzor, while others may not have risen to the top, if space had been a concern. Obviously, commentary on a Chumash would be different, but I’d personally prefer non-redundancy and more selectivity. That’s, of course, not to take away from the tremendous job you did on the machzorim, and I’m sure on the siddur.

  82. Ethan: Your comments go to the core of my hesitation over the siddur. There are about a thousand ways to do it and just about everyone will be critical no matter how you do it. But you can only do it one way.

  83. Arnie Lustiger

    Ethan:

    There was no space limitation with Artscroll: every comment I submitted in the manuscript was printed. I did not see repetition as a major concern, since space was not at issue. This was especially true with comments on the piyutim for the first two days of Rosh Hashanah in both shacharis and musaf (this was actually Artscroll’s idea) I felt it was better to have the reader reread a comment from the earlier day than none at all.

    When you say that you would prefer more selectivity, do you mean that you would prefer fewer non-repeating comments, i.e., less commentary? That is the case in the Siddur. In your opinion, should there be a similarly lower density of commentary for a Chumash? In other words, should I remove material (assuming the density of commentrary approximates the machzor)? If so, what should the criteria be for removal?

    BTW, I look forward to Lonely Man 2!

  84. I can live with rereading a comment. Chazara is the key to learning, no? It can be annoying at times but I’ll take that over cutting out commentary. Did you know that the Vilna Gaon didn’t write sefarim? His writings are from his students. Much of the Rav’s teachings too. So if you want to have a siddur on the Rav you have to take in notes from talmidim, etc. Such notes are my favorite part of the machzorim. Somebody over there tried to hard to make this look like a secular book.

  85. Halachkhic positions II pages 61-62 and 72-73 are about Gomel.

  86. Hirhurim, I’m not so crazy about this comment: “Ethan: Your comments go to the core of my hesitation over the siddur. There are about a thousand ways to do it and just about everyone will be critical no matter how you do it. But you can only do it one way.” This is a convenient tool for shutting down discussion.

  87. Arnie Lustiger

    There are 306 comments in the siddur. 168 comments from the original manuscript were removed and 48 more were truncated. From what I could gather this was done either because the koren layout could not accommodate the high volume of commentary or because specific comments were deemed too trivial (i e “any young Israel rabbi could have said it”). There may be plans for a shabbos and yom tov siddur which may include some of this deleted material

  88. I realize it’s a subjective issue, but I personally felt that some of the Rav’s comments in the machzor were more insightful than others. This may have to do with my personal preference for pshat over drash.

    In fact, I’ve been reading both Torat Ha-Rav’s “Abraham’s Journey” and David Holzer’s “Thinking Aloud: Bereishis”, and while I find some of the Rav’s homiletic messages to be articulate, it just doesn’t do it for me as interpretation. I’m also reading the new “Torah MiEtzion” volume put out by Koren, and I’ve found that to be much closer to my heart. In at least one place, the Rav called an interpretation cited by Rashi based on the Midrash (with reference to the three angels that approach Avraham as being distinct from Hashem, Who was visiting him) as “the position of Hazal”, as opposed to the Rashbam (who considered them one and the same). Using this language seems to imply that one approach is following the mesorah, while the other is a break from it. This is clearly not the view of the “Gush school”, who see previous commentators as being interpreters — albeit ones with a tremendous amount of knowledge and wisdom — but not nevi’im.

    But back to the machzor, even if you’re into drash, some drash strikes me as better than others, and even the Rav didn’t hit a home run every time. Now, I can’t think of any specific examples, but that was just my impression.

    So, I’d personally go with less if it would maintain a more consistent standard, but of course, you don’t want to be missing commentary for any parshiot. Another question is whether you want to have a consistent quantity of commentary. You could have the entire book be just on the first two chapters of Bereishit, if you wanted, so you gotta draw the line somewhere. I’d be ok with there being a bit more commentary on certain parshiot, but not a tremendous amount more.

  89. “I wouldn’t characterize such behavior as elitist since he may have misjudged the abilities of many of his audience to understand his references.”

    I don’t want to beat this to death, but I think you have a good point and a more generous explanation. (Although some might say that the above is a definition of “elitist.”) Well, I hope some of this gets back to him and he begins to judge his audiences more appropriately.

  90. “AAF on November 16, 2011 at 3:17 am
    How do the publishers see use of the Mesoret HaRav siddur relative to the Sacks siddur? Surely one is not meant to replace the other.”

    Wasn’t the Rav siddur a copublishing operation? I’m just guessing but I believe that since the JPS disappeared that I am not aware of Jewish book publishing in general being done to sell books give authors standard royalties and no contributions by authors etc. If my understanding is wrong please correct as to which publishing house will not publish copublishing books of Orthodox Jews regularly.

  91. Mycroft: No, you don’t understand today’s publishing world or the word co-publish. A co-publishing arrangement does not necessarily mean that any money has changed hands. And JPS hasn’t had a role in the Orthodox world in decades.

  92. “Well, I hope some of this gets back to him and he begins to judge his audiences more appropriately.”

    It has gotten back to him, though I disagree; I think he judged his audience just fine. It was a heimish Jewish audience interested in the Rav. The few uses of Yiddish were not over their heads, and in the one instance that I can recall of an entire sentence or two in Yiddish, he translated.

  93. ” The Rav gave semicha to over 2500 men. (Why do people keep saying that like it’s a good statistic?)”

    A misleading statistic-he didn’t have 2500 total in his smicha shiurim. He signed a university smicha does not equal smicha from him-remember the Rav also gave private smichas. One that I saw BTW was dated Chodesh Ziv.

  94. I happened to enjoy the machzorim and I do not mind at all if there is repetition. Repeat all you want in a machzor (in a Chumash obviously there would be no need for repetition, you could just reference your previous note. But a Machzor, it is much easier if every day has its own commentary). I would not have minded if there would have been more alternative explanations in the Machzor, but I did not mind the repetition that I saw.
    In regards to the Chumash, I appreciate any of the Rav’s comments. If you are able to write a concise summary that would be best (let the reader decide which is a home run and which is not, everyone is touched by something else). However, if you are required to choose just some of his divrei torah, then choose which you think are most spectacular (though you risk having a small commentary and leaving people wondering why you left out certain divrei torah which they found inspirational).
    If people don’t want to read every comment from the Rav on every passuk, they don’t have to. – How many chumash seforim are there where the reader thinks every single passuk is a home run that no one else could have said?
    (I gather from your previous answer that there are internal reasons [not your own decisions] which affected the outcome. I imagine you would be hesitant to discuss certain things even in email.
    The only other point I was going to make was that if someone repeats a dvar torah from the Rav erroneously, it’s not such a big deal (and you can choose not to quote that dvar torah if it doesn’t make sense to you), but if someone tells over the wrong halacha it is a much bigger deal. So I question the idea of quoting secondary sources regarding Hanhagos HaRav (where people might actually follow those opinions l’halacha), yet refraining from quoting secondary sources for divrei torah from the Rav! I gather this was probably not your decision as well, but please make note of it to whoever makes such decisions

  95. “The few uses of Yiddish were not over their heads, and in the one instance that I can recall of an entire sentence or two in Yiddish, he translated.”

    Why use Yiddish at all? RJJS speaks English very well.

  96. RJJS uses Yiddishisms for emphasis and comic relief! And he does it well!

    It’s a style thing – get over it.

  97. Arnie Lustiger

    Source: I just learned from r Weil that original plans for a follow up shabbos and yom tov siddur have been placed on hold. I have collected all material that was taken out of the siddur and can send it to you. It literally amounts to a second siddur commentary

  98. Lawrence Kaplan

    Dr. Lustiger: Instead of sending the material by e-mail to selected individuals, why don’t you make it available to the general public on-line?

  99. I am working on it but there Is no guarantee that I will be successful. Obviously it is difficult to go into more detail

  100. Lawrence Kaplan

    Dr. Lustiger: Understood

  101. I love Source’s comments here.

    We all have siddurim toppling off of our shelves. We aren’t going to buy this siddur because we need a siddur. We’ll buy it because we seek Torah from the Rav. And fans of the Rav generally are intellectuals or at least they have intellectual leanings. And intellectuals like material. I was stunned to hear that 168 supplied comments were not used and 48 truncated. We are talking about the gadol hador here, not your local whatever. Not only that he was one of the finest writers I have ever read. You all ready have the other Koren siddur if you want the leaner look. With this one, they should have loaded it up with everything that was supplied.

  102. Regarding “Any Young Israel rabbi could have said it.” That’s true of everyone. You think every comment in Mesillas Yesarim blows me off my chair? Even the Ramchal says that his book doesn’t teach you anything you haven’t heard before. I have the Abarbanel on Pirkei Avos. Lots of his comments have occurred to me.

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